Sources: O’Neil Has the League Office in Sight

Tommy Dee

Since word broke yesterday that Scott O’Neil, a man who has risen up the ranks since being first hired by the Nets years ago, would be leaving his post at MSG, I’ve spoken to several league sources and have come up with some notes of interest.

One league executive, who worked with O’Neil at one point, told me that he would bet that O’Neil’s “main goal” would be “to sit next to Adam Silver when David Stern retires.”

Remember, it was Stern who recommended O’Neil to MSG following the Isiah Thomas mess.

Speaking of Thomas one source confirmed that O’Neil and owner James Dolan “had some issues” because O’Neil “didn’t want Dolan and Isiah to communicate.”

O’Neil had a successful run at MSG despite any level of working discomfort with ownership having successfully closed the JP Morgan sponsorship deal as well as overseeing the Garden’s 3-year renovation. He also closed a deal with Coke that surrounded Jeremy Lin, who the Knicks let walk to Houston. Stock prices at MSG are at an all-time high.

Business aside, O’Neil garnered the ear of Dolan thanks to his relationships with CAA. This movement was key in solidifying the JP Morgan/Chase deal and also opened up lines of communications during the summer of 2010. The relationship was a key reason Donnie Walsh decided not to return to the post of running the basketball operations, of course in addition to Dolan’s insistence on the Melo deal.

The bottom line for the Knicks is that after several years of patience and forward thinking, owner James Dolan has once again come to the forefront and is making imprints on the franchise that can only be looked at as questionable. Knicks fans are hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself, but if this off season is any indication both on and off the court, it’s not looking good.




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